When you have lots of strong flavors, it can become quite a balancing act to combine them and make it all work. Two dishes over the last week or two stood out in that vein – both dishes that took a fair amount of practice to get the combination just the way I wanted it.

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Playing around more with our Nomiku sous vide circulator, I’ve been experimenting here and there with red meat. Given that we don’t eat a lot of it at home, it’s been a slow process. One of my favorite steak combinations is with a bit of blue cheese melted over the top – it’s just such a great marriage of flavors. But, for some, it’s just too strong. So I had this idea to infuse the blue cheese flavor on a more subtle basis into the meat, and sous vide makes that far easier. I vacuum packed top round steaks (peceto) with a good slathering of our blue cheese mousse (blue cheese, butter, creme fraiche, cognac, salt and white pepper) and then cooked them for several hours at 52.5°C to come out a perfect rare and completely tender. The meat infused with that beautiful blue cheese flavor, and then I seared them at last minute in a little butter and olive oil. Served with roasted beets, and, that wonderful chard kimchi from our recent online cooking challenge (minor change one night, as we had a vegetarian guest for whom I offered up shiitake mushrooms done the same way, though cooked for only about half an hour sous vide – I couldn’t use fish sauce in the kimchi, so I used a spoonful of algae puree dissolved in soy sauce and it worked beautifully). Quinua cooked in mushroom stock on the side. And, just for decoration and a hint more – a “snow” of blue cheese (freeze the cheese and then grate it over the plate). It’s almost a shame we don’t cook with red meat more often!

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Given that desserts are not my strongest suit, I love it when I work one out to the point where I’m completely satisfied with it. And, I particularly love it when it’s something unusual. In the past, I’ve put together the flavors of lime and licorice, a combo I picked up in Australia many years ago. In this case, a chocolate and star anise infused cheesecake paired with our lime puree, and topped with cherries that were roasted in the oven with anisette and sugar. That one’s going in the regular rotation!

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Bite Marks #10

2015.Jan.22 Thursday
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There’s always somewhere, new, old, interesting to try out to eat, that’s one of the things I love about this city. time once again for another round of casual bites…. There’s nothing like finding a place that understands the roots of local cooking, and thinks that there’s nothing wrong with serving dishes that could have […]

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Random Acts of Training #5

2015.Jan.19 Monday
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I find myself this morning thinking that I should have a political blog in which I can comment on things that incense me about the way the world works, or doesn’t, around me. And I could use this one – I have now and again delved into local Argentine politics and the system here, and […]

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The Squid-Ness Monster

2015.Jan.16 Friday
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It’s time once again for the results of our online cooking challenge, Reinventing the Whisk! I bring to you, right here on this page, Episode #7, with behind the scenes tales and photos. There were three challengers this time around, as there have been most of the past few episodes, myself, Kevin Hopp coming to […]

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Inner Secrets

2015.Jan.13 Tuesday
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Once again, two different menus during the last week, and a couple of dishes that for me stood out. A bit of an Italian, French and Peruvian mashup here for the pasta course. Fish mousse, a classic preparation – starting with a humble white fish, the merluza, or hake, and processing it with sauteed leeks, […]

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Random Acts of Training #4

2015.Jan.12 Monday
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It was another roll of the dice and this time, once again, the Mitre train line headed to Tigre, and the stop… Acassuso. Now, I’ve been to this little ‘burb a couple of times and even gave it a little writeup awhile back. I remember (and have a couple of photos on the blog to […]

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Bite Marks #9

2015.Jan.10 Saturday
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From near and far, more casual eats! A Sunday day trip to Tigre, the plan was to stop and try a much touted burger from Sweet Pepper, a weekends only food truck located in the Puerto de Frutos, but, despite a post on their Facebook page the day before saying they’d be around, they were […]

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Wrapping Up the Holiday Weeks

2015.Jan.08 Thursday
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I’ve decided that instead of posting details on each and every menu, especially when we’re repeating a lot of dishes these days from our repertoire, I’m going to focus a bit more on the dishes that standout and/or are new. Now, here, I’m going to be wrapping up the whole period following the Christmas dinners […]

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The Round-Up, v. 2.0.1.4

2015.Jan.05 Monday
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Each January, like so many other folk out there, I take a look back at the last year shortly after it ends. In past editions, I’ve focused mostly on what amounted to the statistics of Casa SaltShaker – how many people and dinners, strange requests, food allergies, etc. When it comes down to it, there […]

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